Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer told ESPN that he's declaring for the NFL draft. Mayer is the top prospect at his position, No. 8 overall on Mel Kiper's Big Board and leaves Notre Dame as the most productive tight end in school history.

Mayer, a true junior, told ESPN that he'll be skipping the Gator Bowl against South Carolina.

He said that his decision to head to the draft after his third season there comes down to him being ready to be a pro, something he said he realized could happen during his freshman year.

"I've really enjoyed my experience at Notre Dame," Mayer told ESPN. "The first reason I picked Notre Dame was the NFL, it was on my mind a very, very long time. I saw a lot of good tight ends in in the NFL from Notre Dame. That was one of the main reasons I went there."

By the time Mayer left, he emerged as the most productive tight end in school history. He leads Notre Dame tight ends in career yards (2009), catches (180) and touchdowns (18). He's third overall on Notre Dame's receiving list with his 180 receptions, trailing only Michael Floyd and T.J. Jones, which is impressive considering he did that in just three seasons.